Wood burning stoves require a lot of TLC, just like any other engineering unit. Regular servicing will keep your stove in optimum condition, allowing you to get the most out of your purchase. Here are a few care and maintenance tips to get you started.
Sweep the chimney
This is the most important part of a wood-burning stove’s care and maintenance routine. Over time the chimney gets coated with creosote and soot from fires that did not burn properly. Soot build-up can cause a fire, so ensure that you sweep the chimney at least once a year or when the creosote build-up is 1/8 inch thick. Wear protective gear when doing this because dust and soot are harmful to your health. While at it, get a professional to inspect the chimney to ensure that everything is in good condition.
Empty the ash pan
During the colder months, the stove comes in handy to keep to your home cosy. When it is in constant use, ensure that you empty the ash pan every day. Hot ashes can distort the shape of the grate sitting if they are left to pile up in the ash pan.
Clean the glass
Many modern stoves have an air wash system to keep the glass clean at all times. If yours isn’t fitted with one, use a glass cleaning product specially made to clean stoves. Alternatively, use a newspaper dipped in malt vinegar to clean the glass. Avoid using abrasive cleaning products as this could cause permanent damage.
Burn seasoned wood only
Seasoned wood is wood that has been chopped and dried for at least six months. It makes a sharp ringing sound when knocked together, while green or dump wood makes a dull thud. Greenwood also generates more soot and creosote. Also, if you can, burn hardwood like oak or maple instead of softwood. They are denser and therefore deliver more heat.
Leave the door open during long periods of non-use
When you are not using your wood-burning stove, leave the door slightly open. This promotes adequate airflow through the system, which helps prevent corrosion.